Four thousand years ago, a terrible war was waged over the land of Elyansia. It was a battle between two gods that wrestled for dominion. Lyra, The Holy Goddess, who fought alongside her children, the races of Elyansia against the Celestial Demon, Ragnarok, and his army of fallen ones who chose to side with the evil deity, these people came to branded as the 'Tainted Ones'.
Eventually victory was won by Lyra who sealed Ragnarok away, tearing his spiritual essence into nine red gems, known as the 'Ragnarok Tears' and scattered them across all of Elyansia, never to be seen again. The Tainted Ones were caught and made to repent for their sins with their lives. Peace reigned as the war finally came to an end. This war would be forever remembered as the 'Legendary War', the war that nearly destroyed the world.
The Goddess disappeared unto the heavens after her noble work was done, the humans founded a church in her honour and to this day, continue the Lyra Religion. Days turned to months, months turned into years, and eventually the memory of the terrifying days of war became a faded part of Elyansia's history.
Four thousand years have passed since then, the races who once lived in co-existence with each other, started to quarrel among each other, people feared that it would be the reincarnation of the Legendary War, only this time, it would not be a battle fought by gods, but by mortals.
An aging Seer from the Fae folk, foresaw a prophecy under the light of the twin moons on the day of the 'Lunar Cross'. He foretold of a day when Elyansia's darkest hour comes, heroes chosen by the hands of destiny will appear to save their world from the coming darkness, becoming a beacon of hope for the world. A unholy divinity will be slain and a broken world will be reborn.
No one knew just what this prophecy meant, or if it would actually happen. Some scoffed the prophecy, believing the Fae folk's so-called 'foresight' to be nothing but false knowledge. While others, took these words to heart and prepared for the day this would happen.
As the threat of war slowly begins to become a reality, so does the prophecy...
Zanark Slums ~ Abandoned Mansion
It was morning in the city of Zanark, the 'city of water' as it was originally known. Nowadays, it is city full of magi-technology. Our story begins, however, in the Zanark Slums. A murky and junk-filled area of the city with polution coming from the Magi-tech filling the air, thanks to the terrible air-filters that did very little to help with cleaning the air, if anything it made it worse. But at least they had clean water thanks to the Zanark Aquaduct System, a marvel of old Zanarkian ingenuity, well, before the rise of Magi-tech that is...Now it's just a forgotten relic that they haven't thankfully decided to get rid off.
Most of the buildings in this city were worn-down and on the verge of collasping, but at least it was a roof over their heads. At a rundown mansion that had been abandoned a long time ago, it used to be the mansion of a big time criminal gang until Lance chased them out. Now, it was his home, along with many orphans that he had taken under his wing. Orphans like Crest Zelpher, who had just been woken up after three orphans, that jumped on him while sleeping.
"Geez guys, you couldn't give me five more minutes?" Crest groaned as he rubbed his eyes to remove any sleep dust.
"You would of only just slept in until the afternoon, like you usually do!" A bright-eyed thirteen year old orphan teased.
"Crest, why did you take so long to come home yesterday? Were you really busy?" A small six year old girl with bright orange hair, soft brown eyes with cute freckles that covered her nose and cheeks. She was also carrying a slightly dirty and torn up teddy bear with one eye missing.
"Errr...You could say that, Rosa." Crest sweatdropped, scratching his head. In honesty, he had been busy stealing last night from the Upper City where all the nobles and even the milltary lived, it was dangerous work, but the treasure that he stole from there was too good to pass up. After all, he wouldn't be called the 'Midnight Thief' if he wasn't punctual and professional in his work.
"Oh yeah, Lance is downstairs, he said that he wanted to talk to you. We'll see you for breakfast!" A fourteen year old boy with mousey brown hair reminded him before he and the rest of the children ran off to get their breakfast.
Crest stretched his arms and yawned before gettiing out of bed, still dressed in his day clothes since he had been too tired to get change when he got back last night. He bent down and easily pulled off a broken peice of plankwood that he used to hide his loot from last night's run.
"This my best work yet, I'm sure this could give us at least six months worth of food and suppiles." Crest beamed, once he safely transferred the various jewels and pieces of jewlery into his side-bag to sell later, he decided to take the kids' advice and make his way downstairs.
Zanark Slums ~ Abandoned Mansion
Lance was busy at work, cooking for thirty orphans that he was looking after. "Alright, kids, there's enough for everyone so no fighting over the good stuff, okay?" Lance warned as he placed the plates down.
"Thank you, Daddy!" Rosa brightly thanked her fatherly figure, he wasn't her real father, but considering how she was left to fend for herself and Lance taking her in, he was the closest thing she had to a father.
"Hey Lance, how did you manage to pay for all this?" One of the orphans asked curiously.
"Well....Let's just say it was a combined effort between me and Crest." Lance gave a lopsided smile. 'Seriously, I really need to talk to that kid. I'd be lying if I said the extra Gald wasn't appreciated but going into the upper city and stealing right under the Zanark Milltary's nose? He's going to get himself killed!'
"Hey old man," Crest arrived and taking an empty seat near Rosa. He then snickered at the apron that Lance was wearing. "That's very cute apron, did a girlfriend we don't know about give you that?" Crest teased.
"Hey, no dissing the apron, kiddo. It was thrown away so I cleaned it up and decided to use it for myself, want not, waste not I always say." Lance scoffed.
"Say, had you heard from Kiram? It's been years since we seen him last. Or maybe Aleyn?" Crest asked before picking a loaf of bread and pulling a peice off and nibbled on it.
"I haven't heard from Aleyn since he left with that Genji fellow. But I did get a letter from Kiram a few days ago, he said he's coming back home." Lance answered.
"Really? That's great! I was beginning to worry we'd never see him again. Maybe he can show us those cool Mahouni moves that I heard so much about." Crest's eyes lit up at the news.
"Heh heh, you two always were close. Anyway, I've been meaning to talk to you, about your recent visits to the Upper City at midnight."
"Aw c'mon old man, not this early in the morning..."
"I'm just worried about you. The Upper city is nothing like the merchant ring district or the Middle City, are you aware that they have milltary soldiers on night watch now due to your 'visits'?" Lance sighed.
"Whoa, that's actually kind of cool." Crest blinked, he had not been aware that there were Zanark Soldiers there at night now, even after he had gone back there four times previously.
"Crest, I'm being serious. You need to stay away from those people, do you know what Zanark Soliders do to Theives?" Lance gave a disapproving look.
"You get branded?" Crest cringed.
"And to top it all, exiled. Remember, they based these punishments on the Church of Lyra's teachings."
"That Goddess of theirs has a pretty sadistic mind for someone whose suppose to be belevolent." One of the older orphans near Crest's age scowled.
"I'm not a believer of Lyra myself, but I wouldn't go around saying things like that aloud. A majority of the people here worship Goddess Lyra and the Church isn't quite forgiving when it comes to heretics or those who would mock the Goddess." Lance warned.
"Fine, fine. I'll stay away from the Upper City..." Crest sighed as he gave into Lance's request.
"Good, trust me, you'll thank me one day. Besides, they'll probably drop their guard after a few months and you can go steal there again, for a few nights at least." Lance smiled.
"I like that compromise." Crest smirked.
"I thought you would." Lance rolled his eyes. "Anyway, I wonder if you can do me a favor while you're in the Merchant Ring District, since I know you're going to sell off that treasure to nearest pawn shop."
"You know me too well, old man." Crest shurgged. "Alright, what's the favor?"
"I need you to get a delivery from the Zanark Airblimp port in the Merchant District. I'm expecting something from an old friend of mine that lives in Prisma region." Lance explained.
"Prisma Region, that's where most of the Mahouni race live,right? I didn't know you had a friend there." Crest shrugged.
"He and I go waaay back, long before you were born. Anyway, that's the not point. I'll be staying here to keep an eye on the kids today since Meryl who usually looks after them while I'm away has come down with a stomach bug, so I'll need someone to pick up the parcel in my place." Lance added.
"Sure, I can do that." Crest nodded.
"Well, I'm off to the Merchant District Ring then." Crest annoanced after picking up an apple and heading towards the exit.
"Wait, shouldn't you eat first? You didn't even touch anything!" Lance called out.
"I had a loaf of bread, besides, don't worry, I'll work something out later." Crest waved and charged off.
"Honestly, what am I going to do with that kid?" Lance crossed his arms, he went back to cooking for ther rest of their makeshift family who were still not finished with their breakfast.
Merchant District Ring
The Merchant District Ring was a large donut ring in the centre of the city that was bascially the hub for all merchants from across the world, imports and exports from other lands come in and out through the Airblimp port that was made just for traders, travellers and mail-personnel delivering letters and parcels from other lands.
Airblimps were in abundance in Zanark, many of them filled the skies as some departed to other lands while others arrival to drop off passengers and import goods into Zanark.
There was a decent-sized plaza in the middle of the ring that acted as a social spot for locals and vistors alike, with a beautifully decorated fountain, water flowing out like a work of art. It was one of the few things that had not been changed or altered since Zanark's slow but obvious change as buildings turned from stone to metal.
While the plaza remained the same as it had for thousands of years, the Merchant Ring District itself had changed to develop to the current times. Most merchant stores had mana-powered neon signs plastered on nearly every shop, they don't put them on during the day but when they are lit up at night, it was enough to make someone blind from the sheer lights.
Crest easily jumped from the junk boat ferries that was used to transport people around Zanark, on to the metallic docks that lead into the Merchant District Ring. After all, Zanark was called the 'City of Water' for a good reason, the city was literally surrounded by water. How people managed to live above the water line and built such a giant city on top of it was a mystery that only the forefathers who founded this place could know.
That's not what was on Crest's mind though, right now, he came here for two purposes. One, to sell off the treasure he managed to steal from last night's run and two, get Lance's parcel from the Airblimp Port.
"Okay, time to go see ol' Guido again. I hope he doesn't try to rip me off again." Crest stretched his arms before heading off to the direction of what he considered the most 'reliable' pawn shop in the city.